Cristina’s official visit to Moscow marks the 130th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations between Russia and Argentina. Flanked by a delegation including Axel Kicillof, Julio De Vido and Héctor Timerman, the Argentine cohort signed a number of agreements over the two day visit; here’s a rundown of the most important moments.
Kicking off proceedings yesterday was Cristina’s address to the Argentine-Russian Business Forum. Cristina delivered a 38-minute pitch to the audience, selling Argentina as a country of great potential strengthened by the the growing partnership with Russia; she was looking, certainly, to quell the economic and political concerns leading foreign investors to treat the country with caution. And she was well-placed to do so: Among those in attendance were reportedly representatives from some of Russia’s top energy companies, including Gazprom, Lukoil, Rosatom, and Power Machines. On Argentina’s economic situation, she was outspoken against adjustment policies, selling Argentina as a country that has
“overcome the economic model that we are seeing in Europe which considers adjustment to bring growth. That is a lie, because if there is no good salary, people don’t consume, don’t sell, and there is no production, especially when there is no much consumption in the world”.
“I’m not in the habit of lecturing, but adjustment theories are remedies from the past that can’t be considered solutions”.
“If we add a foreign restriction to an internal restriction, we are burying the economy; that is why the theory of adjustment is not a solution. Adjustments cause huge discontent, bad expectations and institutional instability. Argentina had five presidents in a week, in 2001; there you have institutional consequences.”
Yesterday also saw Cristina inaugurating a new exhibit in a nod to the 130-year anniversary of cultural ties: “The Eva Museum is a gesture to strengthen our cultural ties… it is fantastic, and has enchanted those Russian workers who installed it”.
Today saw the headline event, as the Argentine president meet with Putin at the Kremlin and a number of key agreements were signed. Here’s Cristina celebrating and emphasizing the historic relationship between the two countries:
And here is a longer version, for those who want to see some agreement-signing in action (photos or it didn’t happen, right?), or a glimpse of Kicillof’s sartorial adaption to Russian climes.
A preliminary agreement was signed between Nucleoeléctrica Argentina SA (NA-SA) and Rosatom Overseas for the construction of the sixth nuclear power station to be built in Argentina. Julio de Vido, whose signature appeared alongside that of Serge Kirienko, president of nuclear energy company Rosatom, stated:
“NA-SA and Rosatom Overseas commit to developing the project and the commercial agreements for the engineering design and construction of a nuclear plant with an enriched uranium reactor… with a capacity of 1,200 MW”.
Argentine currently has three functioning nuclear power stations, providing roughly 10% of the country’s power. This nuclear alliance follows new links being forged between Argentina, Russia, and Bolivia: Last July, Putin reportedly offered Bolivia “a comprehensive plan for the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes”, and Argentina last month signed a “cooperation agreement” with Bolivia towards the promotion and development of institutions and infrastructure that will facilitate the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Argentina is looking further afield, too: This February saw the ratification of an agreement between Argentine and Chinese governments towards the construction of a third reactor at the Argentine Atucha plant, and the signing of a further agreement towards Chinese participation in the construction of a new power plant using the Chinese Haulong-One design launched in September last year.
In other energy news, plans will go ahead to continue construction of the Chihuido I dam on the river Neuquén, backed by Russian investment, and hoped to include a 637 MW hydroelectric power station.
Cristina also thanked Russia for its support in both the Malvinas and vulture-fund disputes. The two presidents repeated their desire to see negotiations resume between the UK and Argentina, and pronounced themselves in favor of a peaceful resolution to the issue of Ukraine.
Timerman and Russian minister Sergei Lavrov agreed to “cooperation in the fight against terrorism, under the central role of the UN; drug trafficking; transnational crime; economy; and new threats to stability”. More specifically, security minister Sergio Berni and the Federal Drug Traffic Control Service of Russia signed an agreement to cooperate in the fight against the trafficking of narcotics, psychotropic substances, and precursor chemicals.
A defense agreement was reached to “develop military cooperation between parties by means of exchange of experience and opinions in different areas, visits, seminars, training, and search and rescue”. So cool it, Britain, no armament yet.
Both countries showed interest in economic cooperation, to the tune of reaching a bilateral commerce figure of five billion dollars by 2016.